Former Gopher Thomas Barber prepares to play in the NFL

Heroic moments defined the Gophers’ 2019 football season from start to finish.

But no player on that team was more of an Iron Man than Thomas Barber. The linebacker started every game on defense for the Gophers for three straight years, earning a solid base of experience that he wants to bring to the pros. 

“After the Outback Bowl, I realized that I didn’t want my football career to be over yet,” Barber told FOX 9. “It’s one of those things that I’d do anything to put on the pads one last time.”

Barber’s love for the game is especially prevalent now as he prepares to play in the NFL, most likely as an undrafted player. 

Thomas starred at linebacker at the University of Minnesota, but starting out in the league he’s willing to play any position, even if it means switching to the other side of the ball. 

“Just being versatile, and being open to trying out fullback, linebacker or special teams,” Barber said.

Barber lined up at running back in high school and spent his career as a linebacker - a combination that could serve him well at fullback. 

“You get to hit people still,” Barber said to describe the idea of playing fullback.

Whatever route Barber goes on, he has help to map things out in the pros.

Thomas’ dad Marion played in the NFL, as well as two older brothers. Marion Barber III played seven productive years in the pros and Dom was drafted by the Texans in 2008. It’s been a family affair to help Thomas figure out his way to the NFL.

“Right now, there’s over 200 dudes doing the same thing you’re doing, but I have a person in my house right now who went through this and I have two brothers to call,” Barber said of the assistance his family’s given him during this process.

“Every one of them went through it, and it’s about who pushes harder and gets through,” Barber added. “Still having that love for football is something they always emphasize.”  

Good advice as Thomas now follows his heart to help leave his own legacy at the next level. 

“Undrafted or not, it doesn’t matter because I know I am going to have a shot,” Barber said. “Realizing that, I’ve been like it is what it is. Just waiting for the opportunity to come.”